Pieterburen is well-known for its seal sanctuary, mudflats and the Pieterpad, though it offers much more. Come for the peace, wide-open spaces and fresh air and discover hidden estates, ancient mound villages and countless Groningen churches. Lauwersmeer, a land for birds, also provides small beaches and plenty of space for water sports. Colourful fishermen's houses line the former seaport in Zoutkamp on the Reitdiep, the only shipping route into the capital. And how about a day on the islands or two? Natural, car-free Schiermonnikoog and the German Wadden island of Borkum are easily reached from here.
Today is a day to cycle the Hogeland and explore real Groningen countryside with vast estates, beautiful mound villages and shady woodlands. Add lush green dikes, red brick houses, winding canals and the water of the Wad and you have the perfect introduction to North Groningen. Discover the magic of 't Zielhoes near Noordpolderzijl, the Netherlands’ smallest seaport. Get a glimpse of the Menkemaborg in Uithuizen and the Hoogeland open air museum in Warffum. Ride past Wierden villages of Kantens, Middelstum, Onderdendam, Rasquert and Usquert on your way back to Pieterburen and enjoy time on a terrace or the tranquillity of ‘Domies Toen’ botanical garden.
Few people know that Groningen too is a land of water, a fact you will discover today. First you ride to Leens, where the Verhildersum Borg and Estate show the history of Northwest Groningen and an excellent coffee stop awaits. The regional market is on every third Saturday of the month, then it’s on to the Houwerzijl tea factory and a unique combination of the sole Dutch tea museum, fragrant tea shop and an atmospheric tearoom with perhaps the most extensive tea menu in the world. A few kilometres further on you reach the former seaport at Zoutkamp, with its colourful fishermen's houses beautifully situated on the Reitdiep. For more water and beaches as well cycle along the Lauwersmeer and stop to fish in Lauwersoog. Riding inside and outside the dikes, you cycle along the Wadden Sea then back across the Westpolder to Pieterburen.
If you want to visit a fascinating city in addition to the area’s peace and space, make time to visit Groningen itself. Just 28 km from Pieterburen, the capital makes for a varied cycling trip with mound villages like Eenrum and hamlets such as Mensingeweer or Schaphalsterzijl, where the Winsumerdiep flows into the Reitdiep. Catch the Reitdiep ferry and in 15 minutes you’re in Aduarderzijl. Ride the Hunze Valley, as the Reitdiep was once called, and check out a local icon, the 1876 Hammingh Cafe in Garnwerd. Cycle the Burgemeester Brouwersstraat with no fewer than 13 national monuments or relax on a terrace at Garnwerd aan Zee. Following the footsteps of Pieterpad pilgrims into the city, climb Martini Tower, gawk at Groninger Museum and the Forum, hit the shops and terraces and admire old courtyards and the Hoge der A . . . to mention just a few! Ride back via the 2020 ‘most beautiful village’ of Winsum or take the train to Baflo from a beautiful historic station.
Hear the seagulls’ call and take in the salty island air, with the Wad to one side and the North Sea beach to the other. Grey-green beach grasses stretch out as far as the eye can see, broken briefly by a white or red lighthouse on the horizon. The sole tiny village can only be reached by bike and the challenge here is choosing, with much to do and so little time! Take a saltwater dip, stop for lunch at Paviljoen Paal 3, hit the beach for seal-spotting on the Balg, paddle in the Berkenplas. It’s 21 km from Pieterburen to the boat, then 23 km each way on the island, for a total of 65 km today. Or give your legs a rest, drive to Lauwersoog and catch the boat for a day on Schier.
Sailing to an island is always something special. Savour the salty sea breeze, screeching seagulls and sandy North Sea shores and set out for some great cycling! Stop for a snack at simple wooden beach bars on your way to Milchbuden. Take the dunes’ edge bike path and treat yourself to views of sand and sea. Pause in tiny Ostland, a halfway point with a handful of bauernhofen and terraces overlooking the salt marsh. Circling back, the mudflats provide a different yet equally beautiful backdrop. Perhaps enjoy a bit of music wafting over from the promenade before you sail back.
This trip into Germany requires catching a boat from Eemshaven, 33 km from Pieterburen. Since it is too far to cycle there and back, this special day trip begins with your bikes on the car bike rack.
(Ferry services to Borkum Island may not be available due to Coronavirus restrictions and today’s programme will depend on boats sailing from / to Eemshaven. Please enquire at the time of booking.)
|Double room, breakfast||200.00|
|Surcharge per person||€|
|Stay in Pieterburen on Friday||10.00|
|Stay in Pieterburen on Saturday||10.00|
|Bike Breakdown pass||€ 1.50 x 4||6.00|
|Child seat||€ 1.25 x 4||5.00|
|Tag-along bike||€ 6.00 x 4||24.00|
|Child trailer||€ 17.50 x 4||70.00|
|Bike helmet||per piece||10.00|
|Boat Schiermonnikoog||per piece||30.00|
|Boat Borkum||per piece||50.00|
4 overnights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Tourist tax included
Breakfast included, half board optional
Detailed roadbook with maps and tourist information
Rental bikes are available
7-day service hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Parking available at the hotel
GPS tracks available
Ferry crossings Schiermonnikoog(dayticket €30,- p.p.) and/or Borkum (dayticket €50,- p.p.) possible to book extra.